Picking your wedding photographer is a big deal. This person will spend most of the day present at your wedding, and will be responsible for ensuring you have the lasting memories you want of your special day.
We’ve compiled a list of the important things to look out for when choosing a photographer, to make sure you get the right person.
- Start looking as soon as possible. As soon as you have your date and your venue confirmed for your wedding, start looking for a photographer. This is because they will be booked up months in advance and you’ll need time to visit a few to make sure you find one you really want.
- See a vast (and appropriate) portfolio — you want to see lots of wedding pictures that the photographer has taken. Make sure they’re taken by the photographer you’re speaking to, as many big companies have several photographers working for them. Make sure you’re looking at photos of weddings. Pictures of babies and studio shots of couples don’t tell you how good the photographer is at capturing weddings, however nice the images are.
- Decide on a style. Every photographer has a unique style. Some you may hate, and some you’ll love. Make sure it’s something you’ll never get bored of looking at. If you know you want a particular style, look for a photographer who specializes in that, rather than getting one who isn’t familiar with it to change his ways.
- Ask how much experience they have. Is this a recent venture, or have they snapped hundreds of weddings over the years? You have to decide how much you trust a photographer with limited experience. A more experienced photographer will know how to act, dress and work at a wedding, whilst a less experienced one may still be learning the ropes.
- Make sure you know the photographer. As mentioned previously, some studios employ more than one photographer, so make sure you meet with the one assigned to your wedding at least once before the big day. As they’ll be around all day, it’s important that you like them and feel that you can get on with them. It’s also good to have the opportunity to explain what you want in person, so you can establish that you’re on the same wavelength.
- What does your package include? Find out what you’re paying for and what extras you’re entitled to. Ask if you get to keep the negatives of your images, or how much they’ll cost to buy. That means you can create replicas of your images whenever you want, without having to contact the studio, if you own the negatives. Some places, however, are not willing to give them up. Just make sure you know the score before you book them.
- How much are you willing to pay? The more well-known, experienced and skilled your photographer is, the more you should expect to pay. If you like a photographer who is out of your budget, try to negotiate. Summer weekends are more expensive, so consider avoiding them if you want the cheapest deals. Never pay the whole fee up front — expect to pay a deposit, but don’t hand over anymore money until you’ve seen the proofs of your wedding photos.
- Write a list of the photos you know you want. This way your photographer can be sure they are getting exactly what you want. Ask them to take a lot of shots before the ceremony, when everything is fresh. Get multiple shots of key moments, just in case anything doesn’t turn out right.
- Make sure you know how long you’ll have to wait to get your photos back. Some places take longer than others, so if you’re particularly impatient opt for a studio with a quick turnaround.
- Get proof of everything in writing. Keep a paper trail of everything that has been agreed on. If you decide on something in person or on the phone, follow it up by email to make sure you have a record of the agreement. A written contract specifying everything you’ve agreed on should be signed by you and your photographer.